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story.lead_photo.caption Pleasant Grove standout Bre Jones slides safely into home during a game against Elysian Fields at the Elysian Fields softball tournament earlier this year. The Lady Hawks won, 4-3. (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas — It happened so abruptly.

Bre Jones, a standout senior shortstop for Pleasant Grove's softball team, was taken aback when the season came to a halt. Jones has played shortstop for the Lady Hawks, who are coached by Becca Collom, for four years.

"It broke my heart in the moment that Coach Collom pulled us into the huddle to tell us we have been set back to play." Jones said. "It broke my heart because it could be a great possibility that I would never step a foot on the field with one of my favorite group of girls. Not only that, but it's my senior season."

Jones has been known for her speed, defense and solid hitting skills. She also plays on a travel team where she has spent some time at second base.

"I think the most challenging aspect of softball is finding yourself in a hitting slump," Jones said. "Everyone in the game of softball has had their games — I'm living proof of it. It can be very hard, but a player has to be strong minded about the situation even if it's hard. When I find myself in these slumps it's easy to beat myself up about it. My mental approach has to be stronger than the challenge."

The standout senior shortstop has batted third in the lineup order for three years. Jones enjoys playing under Collom.

"It's great to play under Coach Collom," Jones said. "Not too many players are blessed to play under a coach that has grown up playing softball then went to play at the next level. She knows a lot and has seen a lot through this game, and it's a blessing to play under her."

Relationships that are formed from playing softball and the competition are the diamonds in Jones' softball experiences.

"My favorite things about softball are the friendships that come out of softball and the competitiveness of the game," she said. "My softball friends are more like family. The game has made me despise losing. I always give it my all every time I hit the dirt."

One softball relationship that Jones has is with her dad and hitting coach, with whom she practices to polish up her skills. Even though the coronavirus pandemic has caused everyone to be stuck at home, Jones remains proactive in staying in shape.

"I have been running, hitting with my dad and hitting coach, and throwing," she said. "I am just trying to stay on track because if this season gets canceled, which I hope it doesn't, I still am looking forward to the next level."

Collom has taught Jones many lessons about life, not just softball. As with most every sport, there are things that players learn during games that can be applied to life such as facing and dealing with adversity.

"Coach Collom has been a mentor for me in the past four years," Jones said. "I would always get in my head when I didn't produce like I should, and she's always reminded me that five or less times out of 10 I'm going to fail. That's just what the game of softball brings is failure, and it makes complete sense. There has never been a game of softball that was played perfectly. Players are gonna fail, they're gonna make errors, but it's how a player handles herself after the mistake. She can let it snowball or do something to stop the bleeding. Are you gonna let it snowball or stop the bleeding. It applies to softball as well as life."

Jones will take her drive, positive attitude and skills to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., on a softball scholarship. She plans on majoring in nursing with a minor in psychology and wants to become a labor and delivery nurse.

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